‘Can my friend drive my car while I am outside the UAE?’

A resident with a valid licence can use the car but the owner is responsible for any fines incurred

Emirati woman driving a car in Dubai at sunset. Getty Images
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I plan to leave the UAE for a few months to go home and stay with my parents as one of them is unwell. However, I will come back later. I am retaining my apartment and car and a friend will stay there in my absence.

My friend would like to use my car when I am away but I want to know if this is allowed by law. If she incurs any traffic fines, who is responsible for paying them? RB, Dubai

In this situation. RB’s friend can drive the car provided she is a UAE resident with a valid UAE driving licence. Someone on a tourist visa cannot drive a private vehicle in the UAE unless they are the owner’s close relative.

If any traffic fines are incurred, the legal responsibility for paying them lies with the vehicle owner. They are also responsible for any parking fines, Salik or other toll charges, vehicle registration fees and insurance costs.

I would hope that a good friend would accept responsibility for any fines incurred and pay them in full but it would be sensible to make this clear at the outset. You can even set out the terms of staying in the apartment and driving the car in writing, with both parties signing it so that there is no misunderstanding.

My employer made me redundant on the grounds of restructuring. My residence visa expires on July 22 but my employer wants me to cancel my visa and that of my spouse by July 10.

My wife is pregnant and is expected to deliver at the end of July. I have asked my employer to extend my insurance cover for 30 days. I once read about a Dubai Health Authority law that requires employers to provide medical cover for 30 days after cancelling an employee's visa.

However, my company refuses to extend my insurance cover. I will face financial problems if my employer does not do this because of the cost of child birth. What can I do? ZB, Dubai

An employer must provide cover for up to 30 days after visa cancellation unless the policy’s annual renewal date falls in this period or the individual is insured under a new policy
Keren Bobker

It is usual practice for a visa to be cancelled on the last day of employment but not sooner. The visas of dependents should be cancelled a few days earlier.

For employees on a Dubai visa, their employer must provide medical insurance in accordance with DHA rules. The DHA issues regular guidance and updates and employers are expected to remain up-to-date with any changes, as should insurance companies and brokers.

On November 29, 2017, the DHA issued general circular No 5 of 2017, which states: “As stated in general circular 09 of 2016 pertaining to individual refunds, we had stated that individually sponsored domestic helpers must be covered for 30 days after the cancellation of the policy. Going forward, the same requirement will apply to all members insured under group policies.

“Therefore, for a group policy with a January 1, 2017, inception date and a December 31, 2017, expiry date, if a deletion request was sent on June 1, 2017, the member would be covered until July 1, 2017. However, if a deletion request was received on December 15, 2017, the member would only be covered until expiry of the policy.

“The cover required post deletion date must, at minimum, cover emergency expenses. It is encouraged, however, to maintain the existing benefits, terms and conditions.”

This announcement has not been rescinded. It is still valid and applies to all employees on Dubai residence visas.

It is clear from this that an employer must provide insurance cover for up to 30 days after the cancellation of visas unless the policy’s annual renewal date falls in this period or the employee is insured under a new policy.

I understand that ZB is not about to start new employment, so he has a grace period that allows him to stay in the UAE for 30 days without having to obtain a new visa. He should expect his employer to continue with some medical cover for both him and his wife as the guidance refers to “all members insured”.

The only way the employer can legally refuse to provide cover would be if the policy’s annual renewal date fell during the notice period.

It should also be noted that cover can be provided on a minimal basis and for emergencies only but it is rarely viable for a company to arrange new terms for two people for such a short period, so the practical solution is to continue with cover in the main policy. Employers who fail to comply can be heavily fined.

The employer should be reminded of the DHA guidance but if they fail to provide the required cover, ZB should contact the DHA on 800 342.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 25 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

Updated: July 17, 2021, 5:00 AM